The job interview is a strategic conversation with a purpose. Your goal is to persuade the
employer that you have the skills, background, and ability to do the job and that you can
comfortably fit into his/her organization. At the same interview, you should also be gathering
information about the job, future career opportunities and the organization, to determine if the
job and work environment are right for you.
You can strongly influence the interview outcome if you realize that an interview
is not an objective process in which the employer offers the job to the best candidate based
on merit alone. But rather, an interview is a highly subjective encounter in which the interviewer
offers the job to the qualified person whom he likes best. Personality, confidence, enthusiasm, a positive
outlook and excellent interpersonal and communication skills count heavily.
One key to success is to use every means at your disposal to develop effective
interviewing skills: selective presentation of your background, thoughtful answers to typical
interview questions, well researched questions about the organization, and an effective strategy to
market yourself. There is no magic to interviewing: it is a skill that can be learned and
improved upon with practice.
A second key to success is careful research about the job and the organization,
agency, or company with whom you are having the interview. You can request printed
materials such as annual reports from the employer in advance or use library resources.
You should also talk with your contacts in the organization or use your personal network to
discover the names of current employees you might call prior to the interview. Knowing about
the job will help you prepare a list of your qualifications so that you can show, point by point,
why you are the best candidate. Knowing about the employer will help you prepare an interview strategy
and appropriate questions and points to emphasize.